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Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 00:46 GMT
University staff work to rule
Unions are angry that negotiations have not re-opened
Staff at universities and colleges across the UK have been called on to start industrial action over pay and conditions.

Up to 100,000 higher education union members - from lecturers and administrators to clerks and cleaners - have been asked to support the protest.

If the problem isn't resolved, we will consider strike action in the New Year

Natfhe spokeswoman
The action is being launched on Tuesday with a day of demonstrations and rallies.

Continuous disruption is planned thereafter, with the withholding of students' marks, boycotts of management meetings, a refusal to cover colleagues' lectures, overtime bans and working to rule and to contract.

"We don't want to affect students more than we have to - we want to hit the universities," a spokeswoman for the university and college lecturers' union Natfhe said.

Strike threat

But the protest would continue until a settlement was reached, the spokeswoman said.

"We're trying to avoid strike action as much as possible, but if the problem isn't resolved, we will consider strike action in the New Year."

There is no more money than we have already offered for this year's pay round

Peter Humphreys, Universities and Colleges Employers Association
The unions are angry that vice chancellors have not re-opened negotiations, despite the fact that a third of the 1bn recently awarded to higher education by the government was earmarked for staff pay.

Chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, Peter Humphreys, said that money would not be available until August 2001.

"There is no more money than we have already offered for this year's pay round," he stressed.

But national secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union Chris Kaufman accused the body of finding increases for vice chancellors of nearly 8%, taking their annual salaries to an average of 115,000.

"But they could only find an extra 16p per hour for the cleaners and support staff," he said.

Unions together

Six unions - Natfhe, Unison, MSF, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the TGWU and the GMB - balloted for the action.

Their stance has the backing of the National Union of Students and the Association of University Teachers.

Assistant general secretary of the AUT, Malcolm Keight said: "We share the other unions' grievance over the employer's refusal to further discuss university pay.

"And while we won't be taking industrial action, we are supporting it," he added.

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See also:

10 Sep 99 | Education
Lecturers' pay talks to re-open
28 May 99 | Education
Lecturers miss out on pay deal
18 Jan 00 | Education
Lecturers demand 30% pay rise
05 Dec 00 | Scotland
University staff in protest
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